For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
I was born in 1955. My mother was an income earner before it was common. She was successful, but to a large degree I raised myself. Other kids had rules. I had few. TV became my tutor. I was ahead of my time.
I raised my kids the same way. My husband and I had careers. God gave us a housekeeper, and she was a blessing. But mostly, our kids raised themselves. Rules were few. Stuff was plenty. Punishment was inconsistent. When our daughters became teens, communication shrank and insolence grew.*
Consider four mistakes of parenting:
1) Too much work and too much stuff: 'So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom' (Psalm 90:12). Nothing in this world is more important than spending time with God and your family--in that order. Not a career. Not a house. Not your hobbies. Nothing.**
2) Too little discipline and too little Bible-time: 'And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up' (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Note the word, 'diligence.' Regarding discipline, add the words, 'kind' and 'moderate.'
3) Possessiveness: 'Abraham built an altar... and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar' (Genesis 22:9). God tested Abraham's priorities. When Abraham released Isaac to God, God released Abraham from the sacrifice. Consider God's sacrifice of His Own Son into a destiny no one could imagine.
Therefore, don't cling to your children. They belong to God. When His destiny for them reveals itself (which it will), shepherd them in that direction until they are grown. And then? Celebrate!
4) Perhaps the most foundational mistake some parents make is to forget God's chain of command. Parenthood is a benevolent dictatorship. Listen to your children. Love them, but never be ruled by them. Parents should not orbit around the lives of their children, but children around the lives of their parents.
Consider God as the Sun, parents as the earth and children as trees upon the earth. They need the Sun to live. They need the earth to grow. Help them grow toward the Light.
To Be Continued...
*Within two years of my late-in-life come-to-Jesus meeting, both twenty-something daughters and my son-in-law, Adam, got baptized and became committed Christians. God erased our mistakes, healed our wounds and therein began a new generation of believers.
**Exception: following Jesus is more important than anything--even family. But don't worry. If He calls you to separate from your family for a moment or a while, it's not permanent. While you're away on His business, God will take even better care of them than you can.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Chain of Command series.